So says the commander of the American Legion, David Rehbein, in his letter to Janet Napolitano protesting the characterization of veterans in the DHS report about “right-wing extremists.” (By the way, we’re all still waiting for the DHS report on the global jihad threat.)
Rehbein, of course, is expressing a commonplace assumption: that Osama is some kind of deviant, a psychopath, who is no more representative of Islam than Timothy McVeigh is of veterans because he has transgressed against the core principles of Islam just as McVeigh trampled upon the principles of the U.S. military.
The comparison dissolves, however, upon close examination. All the orthodox sects and schools of Islamic jurisprudence teach that the Islamic community has the responsibility to wage war against unbelievers and subjugate them under the rule of Islamic law. They all teach that when a Muslim land is attacked by non-Muslims, every individual Muslim has the responsibility to wage defensive jihad. These are the Islamic principles upon which Osama based his actions, and by which jihadist movements have gained recruits among peaceful Muslims worldwide.
By contrast, there is no McVeighite movement among veterans. He was not by any stretch of the imagination acting upon principles taught by the military (or by any sect of Christianity, for that matter, since McVeigh is also often invoked as a “Christian terrorist”).
The implications of the breakdown of the comparison are many. One notable one is that Osama is not a lone nut or member of a tiny group like McVeigh, but represents a broad movement within Islam — one that will continue to grow as long as it is not confronted, and its very existence is denied on pain of charges of “Islamophobia.” How can anyone formulate a strategy to counter a movement that one won’t admit even exists, or else continually minimizes in terms of its size, influence, and staying power?
“Republicans criticize report on right-wing groups,” by Eileen Sullivan for AP, April 15 (thanks to Ray):
WASHINGTON (AP) “” Republicans on Wednesday said a Homeland Security Department intelligence assessment unfairly characterizes military veterans as right-wing extremists. […]
The commander of the veterans group the American Legion, David Rehbein, wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano expressing concern with the assessment, which made its way into the mainstream press after conservative bloggers got wind of the analysis.
Rehbein called the assessment incomplete and said it lacked statistical evidence. He said the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing by military veteran Timothy McVeigh, cited in the report, was one instance of a veteran becoming a domestic terrorist.
“To continue to use McVeigh as an example of the stereotypical ‘disgruntled military veteran’ is as unfair as using Osama bin Laden as the sole example of Islam,” Rehbein said in the April 13 letter….